Gun violence in the U.S. has gotten out of control.
The reasons are still being debated by politicians and the public alike.
However, video games and movies have taken the center stage when it comes to why the U.S. has so many mass shooting.
Are video games to blame?
Do Video Games Really Cause Gun Violence?
Do Video Games Really Cause Gun Violence?
There are a lot of video game players in the U.S. Are they really all buying guns and shooting people faster than Pokemon are being caught? As of August 31, 2019, 297 mass shootings(1) have occurred in 2019. That is more than one person being killed every day. Stick around to find out what’s really going on. You can expect to learn some really catchy new English phrases like “pointing the finger” as well as what “stereotypes” and “scapegoating” are, plus a lot more.
More than one person killed by guns everyday? That seems impossible. What the heck is going on? You are probably asking, why does the U.S. have so many mass shootings? Why hasn’t the government stepped in and worked to resolve the issue? Unfortunately, the government has been extremely ineffective when it comes to fixing gun crime, and perhaps more shockingly, a lot of conservatives have pointed their finger(2) at something seemingly unrelated…video games.
Why should you care? Maybe you have family living in the states or just wish the travel safely from sea to shining sea in the land of the red white and blue. A lot of international students study abroad in the states as well, and maybe that is an idea that interests you. Or you just love the news too much and want to learn more about hot-button topics in other countries. Maybe you even just want to debate your friend for the fun of it at the bar on Friday night. Whatever the reason, stick around and find out what’s really going on.
Old Stereotypes and Video Games
What is a stereotype(3)? A stereotype is when we make a huge assumption that a group (usually people) are all the same. Stereotypes often have a negative connotation and are usually very hurtful and offensive. For instance, Jews in the U.S were stereotyped as caring about money too much and being stingy. This is, of course, not true. So, are all gamers future mass murderers?
Some people who don’t play video games assume that most of them are violent and horrible. You shoot people, hurt people, and commit violent acts that are totally unacceptable in the real world (think Grand Theft Auto). However, many games are not centered around violence, and the gaming industry has grown to be much more diverse and inclusive over the last couple decades. There are more female gamers than ever before, and just take a look at mobile, even grandma and grandpa are dipping their fingers into Candy Crush and Angry Birds.
Furthermore, the science on video games has never shown evidence(4) that they cause people to commit violent crimes. In the past, music and movies have also been scapegoated(5), but science has never supported the idea that media causes violent behavior. Then, what about countries like Japan? Video games are wildly popular in Japan, and yet, their gun violence–and crime in general–is nowhere near the level of the U.S.
Stereotypes rarely, if ever, have scientific evidence. Even current U.S. president, Donald Trump, has attacked violent video games and movies, but that leaves a huge question, why are we talking about video games when guns are so easy to buy and there are so many already in circulation(6)?
“And also video games. I’m hearing more and more people say the level of violence on video games is really shaping young people’s thoughts. And then you go the further step, and that’s the movies. You see these movies, they’re so violent. And yet a kid is able to see the movie if sex isn’t involved, but killing is involved, and maybe they have to put a rating system for that.”
— Donald Trump
The reason the U.S. has such a high rate of gun violence is still up in the air, though most people seem to agree that there are just too many guns in circulation. They are also way too easy to buy, sometimes not even requiring a background check.
The issue of gun violence has come up a lot with the Democratic candidates in the debates this year, but Americans are all still waiting for something to finally be done about the mass shooting epidemic.
What do you think about guns and video games? Can video games cause somebody to kill someone? How about movies? Taiwan has almost no guns next to the U.S. Do you think this is a good or bad thing? I would love to hear your what you think. Leave your comments below.
1. mass shooting (n.)
Ex. There was a mass shooting at a school in New York yesterday where 12 students were killed.
2. point the finger at sb./sth. (phr.)
Ex. My brother always pointed the finger at me when something was broken in the house.
3. stereotype (n.)
Ex. Stereotypes about different ethnic groups are not tolerated much in the 21st century.
4. evidence (n.)
Ex. There is no evidence that aliens have visited Earth.
5. scapegoat (v.)
Ex. It’s easy to scapegoat video games since they are a newer form of media.
6. circulation (n.)
Ex. There are a lot of videos about Hong Kong in circulation since everybody has a smartphone.